It’s funny, after writing about not listening to music much the other day, Bill and I head down to Baltimore to watch a friend of his perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchetrsa. It was more like a chance to watch an orchestra practice and during the practice, in the second half they have musicians that are good enough to play in orchestras but live in the Muggle world for their bread and butter. A gent named Paul lived on the same floor as Bill and went to the same high school (the Fame school) now lives in DC with his wife and kids.
Bill reconnected via Facebook and decided that we were going. I of course had nothing else to do and haven’t left Hoboken since October. I wasn’t sure how much the world has changed outside the mile square city and I was game. We were going to take a train down there and I was fine with that. But trains are pretty expensive and Bill figured it would be cheaper to rent a car. I wasn’t going to argue, it did seem like a good idea. We would not be beholden to schedules which makes a difference.
The plan was to leave around 2:00 but around 11:30 the plan had changed and we would be going at 12:30. That made moving things up a little faster but like I wrote, I had nothing else to do. We were soon on the road, driving down rainy Hoboken streets to the turnpike. My job was to pick the tunes. Only one channel was playing though, the left speakers were OK, my side, the right side was muted. No way around that. As we went further south, crossing into Delaware the weather had cleared up.
On the way down the New Jersey Turnpike we passed a number of utility trucks from Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida all returning after helping out the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
As we entered Baltimore I made it a point to play the soundtrack to Hairspray, the 1988 John Waters movie. I also played Hello Stranger by Barbara Lewis. The first time I heard that song was on Homicide: Life on the Street which took place in Baltimore.
Thanks to Bill’s GPS we found the symphony hall. We were crazy early though and after walking around in the dusk we found a spot to sit and have a beer beforehand. I guess it was a microbrewery since all the beer was made there. We had what was called an Ozzy, which was a dry Belgian like beer. And to my surprise, Hello Stranger by Barbara Lewis was playing when we got there.
We were hoping to find a cigar lounge but despite the neighborhood looking like it needed one, they came up short. There was a cigar lounge around the block from the hall, but there was a sign on the door saying they were out looking for supplies and would be back around 6:30.
The show was going to start at 6:45 so waiting around for that would not work for us. We made it into the hall and saw Paul who was nervous. We reassured him he would be fine, or rather Bill did since I did not know him. I merely told him to break a leg. The first half came on and I was at first jolted by the sound of a live orchestra but soon found myself nodding off to the sweet strings thanks to the Ozzy I had had about an hour earlier.
At the intermission I had two cups of coffee which did the trick and I was wide awake for the Anvil Chorus. It was all a few selections of Verdi’s music and the Anvil Chorus is the one that I remembered out of five or six pieces. Full orchestra and chorus and Paul sat next to the first chair under the baton of Marin Alsop. It was a wonderful excuse to get out of town and I wish we had more time to spend in Baltimore since we do have friends down there.
The ride back was exhausting. It seemed to take forever. Bill was feeling tired and so I wound up playing some house music to get him going. Then it was Girl Talk mostly. Bill never really heard Girl Talk before, even though I had played it often enough. He liked it a lot yesterday. We were back in Hoboken a little after midnight, Bill went to bed and I stayed up for a little while longer, before joining him in slumber.